Halcyon & Fane

Chapter One

Fane gripped tightly to his covers as he tossed and turned, his muscles tense as the nightmare filled his head, the rememberance of pain, the taunting voice and the innocent, horror filled eyes. He screamed, his eyes snapping open, his heart nearly beating out of his chest. He moved onto his side, curling into a ball and crying. His stomach rolled, but he told himself he would not throw up this time. Even as the thought entered his head he was running to the bathroom of his little studio apartment, his stomach emptying itself as he leaned over the toilet bowl. He puked until there was nothing left and even then all he could do was dry heave and cry. He felt so weak, but he couldn’t help the feeling of shame he was always left with.

He finally flushed the toilet and stood when he could stop the gagging and quickly brushed his teeth. He switched on the room light and went into the little kitchen, putting some coffee on. He would get no more sleep tonight. His eyes were caught by the piece of paper pinned to his freezer. Lily, he wondered how she was doing, if she was safe with the man who had come for her. It had been two months since then, but it still felt like it had happened yesterday.

He took it off the fridge, feeling a little guilty for not coming to see her. He just knew it would be hard to look at her again. His blood had changed her life forever. He hadn’t forced her to change of his own free will but it was still his blood that had changed her. If her mate hadn’t come and saved her it would be his blood that caused her to suffer for whatever amount of time that horrible Popobawa had wanted her too. She didn’t blame him, he knew that but he blamed himself. He was a demon and he should have never let that thing capture and enslave him.

Fane decided he was going to suck it up and find her. Fane waited until a decent time then used google maps to find where she lived. He was nervous as he knocked on her door but she wore such a friendly smile when she answered his nerves were eased. “Hi! I was starting to wonder if you’d ever come. May I hug you?”

“sure” she gave him a quick hug, trying to be sensitive about what he went through. She knew a lot of rape victims had trouble with physical contact after their assault. “come in” he swallowed and entered her home. Lily sat down on her couch with him, trying to sit far enough away he could be comfortable but not so far away it would be weird. “are you okay?”

“Yeah, how about you…are you adjusting well to being a demon?”

“Maruo is helping me”

“Your mate right?”

“Yeah”

“so you don’t hate being a demon?”

“Not at all, you don’t feel bad about that right? It wasn’t any more your choice than it was mine”

“I just wish I had been stronger.”

“So what are you doing now?”

“Oh, I work with the police, well sort of. I’m down in cold case helping keep things organized, it was pretty messy when I started. I go over some of the files sometimes.”

“Sounds pretty interesting.”

“Yeah, it gets my mind off things.”

“So how long are you visiting?”

“Just today, I have work tomorrow. I just wanted to come and see how you were doing. I…I didn’t want you to think I had forgotten about you, it’s just been hard.”

“It’s understandable. Would you at least stay and have dinner with us?”

“I’d love to and I can give you my number if you want so we can keep in touch.”

“I’d really like that. Thank you again by the way for staying even when you could break out of your chains. You were strong and an incredibly good person when you stayed to make sure I had gotten the chance to get away too.”

“I don’t think any half decent being could look themselves in the mirror ever again and just leave someone to that horrible creature. I remember every single girl he made me change…I remember everything they went through..I wish I could accept that it wasn’t at all my fault but it weighs on me”

“Time will help, it really hasn’t been that long. I mean, even I have nightmares and I wasn’t there anywhere near the time you had to be there” Fane took a deep breath in and out “So Maruo, where is he?”

“He was giving a lecture but he should be home soon”

Halcyon stared at the locked door to the cold case office, still surprised that it was locked. He checked his phone. It was Saturday, but he seemed to remember someone being in here the previous weekend. He thought about it. There had been a young man with sad eyes and a nervous disposition. He had reached out instinctively with his mind, wanting to know what was going on and had caught the remembrance of pain and the smell of blood. He let out a sigh, knowing he could break in if he needed to, but deciding just to come back in the morning. He waved at the officers on the way out, some of them waving back, others giving him dirty looks. It was very well known he didn’t exactly play by the rules, but the chief kept him around because he got things done.

Fane felt more at ease around Lily and Maruo than he did around anyone else and enjoyed having dinner with them and just catching up. He made sure to give Lily his number and she immediately sent him a text and told him to call anytime, even if he just needed someone to talk to. He hugged Lily and shook Maruo’s hand then left, wanting to try and get to bed at a good time. He knew the nightmares would come and the he would be exhausted tomorrow, but if he managed to get even a hour of sleep, he would be able to function. It helped that his job wasn’t that hard, that it mostly consisted of going through old files and keeping everything organized. He had even stashed a blanket and pillow in the back so he could nap if he got to exhausted.

As Fane brushed his teeth in preparation to go to bed he thought of Lily and her mate. He was glad to see things with her were going well and that she was not only adjusting but happy to be a demon because it meant forever with Maruo. She didn’t seem to be letting the horrible thing that happened to her define her life or darken her spirits and he was determined to try harder not to let what the Popobawa did to him ruin the rest of his life. With clean teeth and fresh pajamas Fane crawled into bed, wrapping himself in the covers and closing his eyes. It always took a long time to go to sleep since he knew nightmares awaited him but he managed it and woke the next morning ready for work, pushing down the horrible nightmares as he ate his breakfast.

Fane kept his head down as he walked through the doors of the precinct, only looking up to give whoever wished a good morning a small, acknowledging smile. He took the stairs down to the basement level of the building, pulling out the key as he hit the bottom step. He came to a complete stop when he noticed Halcyon standing next to the door, his arms crossed over his chest as he waited leaning against the wall. He looked slightly impatient and stood straight up when he noticed Fane. “Uh, hello.” Was all Fane could muster.

“Morning, could you let me in?”

“Oh, sorry, yes.” He was nervous as he unlocked the door and pushed it open. He stepped inside and moved quickly over to his desk as Halcyon stepped in after him.

“You weren’t here yesterday.”

“Hmm? Oh, Saturday is actually my day off, I don’t usually take it, but I wanted to see a friend.”

“Girlfriend?”

“No.”

Halcyon picked up on the image of a young woman. “Lily.”

“Did you read my mind?” The thought was a bit terrifying for Fane. He didn’t want anyone else to see, to even know what had happened to him.

“It’s habit, sorry.”

“So what did you need?”

“Right, the file for the Jockey Murders, I’ve got a hunch and I want to see if it’s true.”

“Alright, just a moment.” He got up and went to one of the shelves and pulled down a blue folder. “Here.”

“Thank you.” Halcyon studied his face for a moment as he took the file. There wasn’t just sadness there but fear and shame. Whatever had happened to him had left scars and Halcyon resisted the urge to delve deeper into his mind. “Are you the only one down here?”

“Yeah, it’s quiet.”

“I see, mind if I pop back in later?”

“For another file?”

“Sure.”

“Okay” Halcyon flashed Fane his best smile then left, his mind now more on Fane than the case he had wanted to solve. These men were dead. Fane was alive and hurting after something terrible . He wondered if whomever had hurt him had been dealt with and already told himself that he’d get justice for him too if the police hadn’t done anything about what happened to him yet. It was hard for him to get his mind back on track but he did, telling himself he needed to get this done. Later that day when Halcyon was able to return to Fane, Fane was consumed in a file so Halcyon waited in the doorway. He didn’t want to startle him so thankfully it didn’t take long for Fane to notice him. “Oh, hi, back for another file?”

“What are you reading?”

“It about a double homicide with a kidnapping. I’m trying to figure out what happened, but no luck.”

Halcyon crossed to Fane’s desk and leaned over to look at the file. Fane’s heart thundered in his chest and he hoped Halcyon couldn’t hear it. As far as he knew, he was human. “Want me to look into it for you?”

“You don’t have to do that.”

Halcyon’s eyes moved to his face and Fane forced himself not to look away. “Maybe I want to.”

“O…okay.”

Halcyon kept looking at him and Fane finally had to look away from those intense brown eyes. It was like he could see everything and it made Fane feel ashamed. “Hey, you want to have lunch together?” Halcyon asked and Fane raised his gaze back up.

“What?”

“You, me, lunch. You eat right? I assume so anyway.”

“Yeah.”

“Good, pizza?”

“Uh…sure.”

“Cool.” He pulled out his phone and called Domino’s, asking them to deliver it to the police station and have the receptionist call cold case when they got there. “Do you mind if I hang out in here?”

“Okay, but it might be boring.”

“Let’s read files together.” Halcyon wanted to get to know him and the only way to do that was to stick close. Even without reading his mind, Halcyon could see that he spent most of his time alone and that being close to other people made him feel uncomfortable, but he was trying to be brave, trying to fight the instinct to flee. In the century he had been alive he had never been drawn to anyone like he had been drawn to Fane. He didn’t know if it was the flashes of memory he had seen or the sadness in his beautiful amber eyes, but he needed to do something.

Chapter Two

They started talking about the different cases in the cold case department, going through possible suspects and different scenarios. It helped Fane to be less nervous around Halcyon. When the pizza came they put everything away before eating to make sure they didn’t get anything on the files. Now there was nothing to distract them but Fane knew this was good for him. He needed to talk to people or he’d never trust again and grow comfortable enough not to stress about anybody who so much as looked at him too long. Halcyon saw he was struggling with that desire to flee again and felt a lot of respect for Fane that he was able to look so calm. Any normal person wouldn’t notice how hard this was for him.

“So, have any family?” Halcyon asked, wanting to make conversation.

“No, only child. What about you?” Fane replied then took a bite of pizza.

“Kind of an only child.”

“How are you kind of an only child?” Fane’s confusion and curiosity helped ease the tension in his body.

“I’m a genetically modified human, there were others, so we’re kind of siblings, but not really.”

“Genetically modified?”

“I was given enhancements like superhuman strength and speed, my ability to read minds. I was one of six volunteers, injected with chemicals, electrocuted, pushed beyond what the human body could handle. When I came out I was like this.”

“That sounds terrifying, like torture.” He whispered the last word and looked down.

“Fane, would you please look at me?” He said in a gentle tone and Fane lifted his gaze. “You know, you have beautiful eyes? I love their color.”

Fane blushed. “Wh…what?”

Halcyon smiled. “There we go, that’s better. I’d rather see you embarrassed than afraid.”

“Were you reading my mind again?”

“No, but after a hundred years, you learn to read people.”

“There’s no way…what?”

“Yeah, one hundred and still looking this good.”

Fane blushed again and Halcyon just smiled at him a few moments before taking a bite of his pizza. “well…I just want you to know that it’s nothing against you if I become scared.”

“I haven’t taken any offense. Another thing about being around as long as I have is typically when someone is afraid of you and you haven’t given them a reason to be afraid it has nothing to do with you, it has something to do with a past event that has left them scarred” Fane nodded, feeling relief Halcyon didn’t ask what happened. He didn’t like talking about it, just thinking about it caused him so much shame. “what do you like to do when you’re not working?”

“I work even on my days off aside from yesterday. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to just have fun I don’t know what I like to do any longer”

“Can I help you figure out what you like to do?”

“Sure as long as it’s not interfering with your work.”

“Not at all, everything I do can be checked from my phone so no worries.”

“Alright then.”

“How about the movies? Does that sound like a good start?”

“What kind?” Fane hadn’t seen a movie in he couldn’t remember how long. He had heard the popobawa watching them, but that had been his only interaction with them.

“How about a comedy? You don’t seem like the horror, thriller type. Then maybe we can go out for burgers.”

“That sounds like a date.”

Halcyon smiled. “Just a fun time between friends.”

“Friends?”

“Yeah, let’s be friends.”

Fane knew a friend could be good for him, that was part of what prompted finally seeing Lily again. “alright, friends” he gave Halcyon the best smile he could while he answered. After eating they cleaned up his work area then looked up on Halcyons phone what was currently out. “anything jump out at you?” Halcyon asked and Fane shook his head. Since Fane didn’t know what he wanted to see from the description Halcyon switched over to Youtube so they could watch trailers. “Now anything interest you?”

“You really don’t have to let me pick”

“But I want you to, please”

Fane didn’t really know which to pick. They all seemed good, but he didn’t want to pick something Halcyon would hate. He worried at his lower lip with his teeth until he finally closed his eyes and put his finger on one. When he opened his eyes, he saw he was on Ghostbusters. “Is…is that okay?”

“Anything’s fine, I’m not hard to please.”

Fane didn’t know why he was blushing. It wasn’t like there had been anything to his words, but his face heated and he looked away, feeling Halcyon’s eyes on him. “So what time then?”

“Looks like seven is the earliest, there’s also a nine thirty. Want to get dinner with me before?”

“Okay.”

Halcyon chuckled as he gently patted Fane on the back. “You sound like you don’t want to. We could go another time.”

“No, I’m fine, it’s just…well I…” He fidgeted in his chair.

“You don’t have to explain, I want you to have fun and enjoy yourself, not be scared. Trust me when you’re ready and not a moment before.”

“I really do want to go tonight though”

“and we will, do you want to go for a walk somewhere nicer? Might make it easier to talk and since we just cleaned everything up it wouldn’t make sense for you to sit here working”

“where?”

“I want you to be comfortable so do you like anywhere in particular?”

“Uh…yeah”

“What’s the name?”

“Pondridge” Halcyon smiled “that is a really nice area. Lets go if you’re ready”

“Could I go to the bathroom first?”

“You can do anything you want. We have a lot of time” Fane walked quickly to the bathroom, mostly needing to collect himself. He was incredibly nervous though he knew Halcyon really was just trying to be his friend. He wished he could feel more comfortable but he was glad that at least Halcyon seemed to understand and not mind.

Fane sat nervously in the passenger seat of Halcyon’s car, his eyes moving from the window, to Halcyon and then back to the window. He didn’t really know what to do or say. He was in a small, confined space with a self proclaimed superhuman, anything could happen. “So, how long have you lived around here?” Halcyon suddenly asked.

“Huh?”

“Have you always lived here?”

“No, but I figured it was a good place to make a clean start.” After the popobawa, he thought to himself. He really hadn’t known where to go after what had happened, finding a place to live where no one bothered him and a quiet job had been sheer luck.

“Fresh starts are a good thing. You know after the institution closed down where I was made, I had a fresh start, started in on the whole private investigation business, started working with the police, I was twenty at the time, but after everything I had been through with the experiments, with being able to read minds, I felt much older. Starting over felt good, I found purpose.”

Fane thought about what he had said. Purpose. He felt like maybe he had found purpose in cold case, but he wasn’t sure sometimes. They sat there in silence until Halcyon slowed and pulled over at their destination. Fane waited as he dug a ponytail holder out of his pocket and pulled his hair back. He could see even more now how handsome he was with his hair away from his face. Halcyon looked at him, causing Fane’s heart to jump and he quickly unbuckled and pushed the door open, needing some fresh air. “Sorry,” he said when Halcyon got out of the car, “just need to breathe.”

“don’t be sorry, it’s alright. You just do whatever you need to to stay comfortable around me. I have to ask though, did I do anything that scared you? I’d like to know to avoid doing it in the future”

“No, you didn’t do anything” Halcyon nodded “You ready to walk?”

“Yeah” Fane was a little embarrassed by how fast he had gotten out of the car but he could see it truly hadn’t offended Halcyon. It was nice out that day. The sky was beautiful and the air around them was comfortable and felt good to take in. Halcyon seemed to be trying to take it all in. He was looking everywhere, his face one of peace and deep thought.

“don’t be sorry, it’s alright. You just do whatever you need to to stay comfortable around me. I have to ask though, did I do anything that scared you? I’d like to know to avoid doing it in the future”

“No, you didn’t do anything” Halcyon nodded “You ready to walk?”

“Yeah” Fane was a little embarrassed by how fast he had gotten out of the car but he could see it truly hadn’t offended Halcyon. It was nice out that day. The sky was beautiful and the air around them was comfortable and felt good to take in. Halcyon seemed to be trying to take it all in. He was looking everywhere, his face one of peace and deep thought.

“You know, if you ever get yourself a girlfriend, this would be a great place to bring her. It’s gorgeous here.”

“Boyfriend.”

“Oh really?” Halcyon chuckled. “By now I’d have picked everything out of your head, but I don’t want to intrude.”

“Why am I so special?”

“Because you deserve to make that decision.”

Fane swallowed. “Have you seen anything?”

“Not really, nothing with any real detail. It was more of an impression than anything.”

“Oh.”

“When I walk into a room, I can’t help but read the people, but with you I forced myself to stay out. I won’t read your memories until you say it’s okay so you don’t have to worry.”

“It’s just the things up there…it’s hard and…”

Halcyon gently nudged him. “Whatever it is, you’re stronger that it can ever be. You’re alive right? So I know you’ll find a way through it.” Fane’s heart danced in his chest and Halcyon smiled at the look on his face. It was like the wheels were turning and he was starting to realize he wasn’t as weak as he thought. “Tell you what, no matter what it is, I’ll help you through it.”

“Why are you going through so much trouble for me?”

“Because I think you need me and that’s what friends do.”

Fanes heart danced with emotion. Halcyon was such a sweet man despite how he appeared. He didn’t look menacing or anything but he didn’t look as kind as he obviously was. “thank you..” Halcyons smile just grew bigger. They stayed at the park until they needed to eat and then drove straight to the movies. Ghostbusters wound up being a good pick and Fane was even happier he hadn’t let his fear control him, that he had accepted Halcyons invitation out. Once out of the theater Halcyon drove Fane back to his car and watched him get in and pull out of the parking lot before leaving. Halcyon also thought the day had been really amazing and was glad he was able to get Fane so comfortable around him.

Fane went to bed that night feeling more comfortable than he ever had. Even when the nightmares tried to come creeping in, the thought of Halcyon would push them aside. It left him feeling embarrassed when he got up the next morning and got ready for work. It only got worse when he got there and found Halcyon waiting for him with a cup of coffee in each hand. “Morning.” He said with a big smile.

“Wh…what are you doing here?”

“I came to see my cold case sidekick.”

“Wouldn’t you be the sidekick?”

Halcyon laughed, making Fane blush. “I guess I would.”

Fane smiled as he unlocked and pushed the door open, feeling more at ease with him today. Halcyon sat one of the cups down on Fane’s desk then sat down to drink his own. “Thanks for the coffee.”

“I wasn’t sure how you took it so if you get diabetes, I’m sorry.”

“I’m a demon so I can’t get diabetes.”

“Oh good, it still might knock you out though.”

Fane grabbed one of the files and sat down, sipping his coffee and finding it sweeter than he liked, but it wasn’t too bad. Halcyon sat there quietly observing, making Fane’s heart beat quicker. “S…so, thanks for dinner and a movie, I had a lot of fun.”

“Thank for trusting me.” Halcyon sat his cup down and leaned a little closer, causing Fane to look at him. “You look better than yesterday, that’s good. How did you sleep?”

“Good.”

“Sweet dreams then?” Fane nodded. “Great, I’m glad.” He reached out and tucked some hair back away from Fane’s face. “You looked pretty pale yesterday.” He swallowed and Halcyon pulled away. “Sorry, I guess I shouldn’t just touch you. So what are you working on today?”

Chapter Three

“I thought I’d look at one I havent seen yet. Somtimes it helps me if I go to something new and come back to something that’s been stumping me. I sort of see it through new eyes if I’ve taken a break for awhile”

“While you’re looking at that one do you mind if I look at one that has you stumped? Maybe I’ll see something.”

“sure” Fane decided to hand him the one he had been looking into the longest. Halcyon took it and sat down on Fanes desk. Fane started reading and getting acquainted with this newer file, knowing Halcyon would alert him if he had any epiphanies. “It was the brother”

“Hm?” Fane said, his thoughts being pulled back into where he was. “Look right here, read what he said” Fane did, still confused “the notes said the police told the family he didn’t suffer to spare them knowing just how long and horribly he suffered but the brother said in one of his final interviews the brother makes reference to him suffering a long time. ” Fane read it again “I feel a little stupid now and so should the police. Shouldn’t they ahve caught that?”

“It’s the way the brother brought it up. It could have been taken as if he had suffered but I don’t think the brother was supposing, I mean what loving brother would. He killed his brother, he knew he suffered even though the family was never told. I just know it. Is he still alive to be arrested, how old is this?” Halcyon started looking through but Fane answered him “The surviving brother is in his seventies now but very much alive”

“Lets go see him wherever he is. I’ll check his memories to be sure I’m not just reading too much into it and he really was talking in conjecture”

Fane couldn’t believe he was actually going out to talk to a potential murderer. He usually left that work to the police, but he was actually going out and doing the leg work. Halcyon seemed so certain and while Fane didn’t quite know how he felt about sending a seventy something to prison, he was glad that the rest of the family, if any still lived, would get some closure. “You’re making a face.” Halcyon said as he drove. “What’s going through your head right now?”

“Just unsure what we should do. I mean on one hand he killed his brother, or may have, but on the other he’s super old. I want to do the right thing because his brother was a victim, but…”

“He’s an old man.”

“Yeah, I’m conflicted.”

Halcyon reached over and took his hand, giving it a quick squeeze before letting go. “Sometimes that’s a good thing. You should judge whether or not your actions are right or wrong at times.” He smiled. “You know, you’re kind of cute when you’re thinking really hard. You look so determined to find the answer, it’s adorable.”

“What?”

“You heard me. I think I really like that about you.”

Fanes heart thudded but it wasn’t in fear. He wasn’t sure how this man had gained his trust so quickly but he was nervous for a whole different reason than what he was normally nervous about. A part of Fane just knew Halcyon wouldn’t hurt him, he just wasn’t the type. They arrived and it didn’t take Halcyon long to confirm the man had been the one to kill his brother. “why?” Halcyon normally didn’t care why, had even seen why. He was only asking so Fane would know and he knew the police would need an actual spoken confession anyway.

“He slept with my girl…my parents never knew thats why she and I broke up. My ego was more important than telling the truth and if I told the truth I would have had to tell them I killed my brother over it”

“You confessed mighty easy” he shrugged “I’m old now, whats the point in keeping it to myself. I’m hoping confessing, saying it out loud might erase some of the guilt….he may have betrayed my trust but he was my brother. Even as he drew his last breath I would have done anything to rewind time but I lost my temper and by the time I was thinking clearly it was too late” They took him in and Halcyon set a hand on Fanes shoulder “it’s out of our hands now” Fane nodded at Halcyons words. He looked so sad Halcyon added “I think we’ve done enough work for the day. Let me take you for a milkshake. Do you like Milkshakes?”

“yeah, thank you”

Fane still looked down once they got seated in the small diner and Halcyon couldn’t help but reach over and take his hand. It made Fane raise his head and look at him. “You alright?”

“Yeah.”

“Really?”

Fane sighed. “I don’t know. Could we order first?”

Halcyon nodded and waved at the waitress who walked over. “I’ll take a chocolate milkshake, please.”

“Cherry for me.” Fane said and the waitress nodded then left them.

“So? What’s wrong?”

“It’s just, I know that what he did was wrong, in fact it was terrible. He killed his brother, but…I don’t know I guess just seeing how it turned out for him. He’s in his seventies, he might not have much time left or he may have a lot and he’s going to be spending it in prison. It’s a stupid thing to beat myself up over, I know.”

Halcyon gave his hand a gentle squeeze then reached out and brushed his hair back away from his face. “We’re going to have to get you a ponytail holder.” He teased as he took his out of his pocket and got up, pulling Fane’s hair back away from his face. He felt goosebumps rise on his skin as Halcyon’s fingers brushed his neck. “There we go.” Halcyon sat back down and noticed Fane was blushing. “I wish you could see your face right now.” He let out a sigh as he retained possession of Fane’s hand. “You’re not stupid by the way. I’m a stubborn, rebellious ass most days and when I want something done it gets done, but even I have days that I regret things. It’s okay to have those days.”

Fane was amazed at how much better he already felt and was still surprised by how comfortable he felt around Halcyon when other people, especially men made him feel fearful. He felt so warm in Halcyon’s presence, like nothing bad in the world could get to him if he stayed close. He felt his cheeks warming again at the thought that he needed Halcyon.

Halcyon was tempted to see what was going on in Fanes mind but still respected his privacy. He was growing to care too much for him to invade his private thoughts. “your face is looking absolutely adorable again” Halcyon said, his eyes softening which only made Fanes heart flip in his chest. “I just….I…I feel safe around you and I’m not used to feeling safe with anyone…especially other men”

“I’m glad, I would never hurt you. Do you think you could talk to me soon about what happened? I really want to help you and it’ll help you more than you think to talk about it” Fane swallowed “I..I don’t know..I’m sorry”

“don’t be, the last thing I want to do is make you do something that makes you uncomfortable. I just care so I wanted to ask” Their milkshakes came and they found other things to talk about. As they left Halcyon asked “Do we have to part? Maybe you could come back to my place and we can play cards or something”

“cards?”

“yeah, do you know any games?”

“Not really…but I’d be willing to learn”

“so I can take you to my home?” Fane nodded and Halcyon felt more happiness than he expected fill him.

Halcyon’s home was a nice looking two bedroom house not far from his office, that he rented from a older woman who lived next door. Fane followed him out of the car and was a little confused when instead of going directly to his place, he veered off to the house next his. Fane followed him, not knowing what else to do and watched as Halcyon took the mail out of the mailbox in front of his landlady’s house and went up the steps and knocked on the door. Fane wasn’t expecting the woman who answered. She was beautiful, her hair and makeup both done, wearing a bright pink robe with a frilly collar. It took Fane a moment to realize she was on crutches and her leg had a cast on it.

“Oh Halcyon, you’re such an angel.”

“Miss Engel.”

“I told you to call me Pearl.”

“Pearl, how’s the leg?”

“It’s fine dear, getting better.”

“You should stop wearing those heels.”

She gave a gasp. “Now, Halcyon, you know that a woman like me must look her best.”

“Yes ma’am.”

She noticed Fane and smiled. “Oh my, who is this little cutie, your boyfriend?”

“No ma’am.” He smiled and she gave him a knowing look. “Anyway, if you need anything, just call me.”

“Of course dear, have fun.”

When they were out of earshot, Fane said. “I thought you said she was older.”

“She is, she just aged well. She used to be a burlesque dancer.”

It only showed Fane more how big Halcyons heart was that he was getting the mail for his neighbor while she was hurt and it honestly surprised him that woman was older. He guessed she must have taken incredibly good care of herself. Halcyon pulled into his driveway and they were soon inside his house “I don’t really dust around here unless I’m expecting company so I’m sorry” Halcyon said and Fane chuckled “its really clean in here and I don’t like to dust either. I can’t even remember the last time I dusted anything.” Halcyon asked Fane to sit at his kitchen table then walked away to retrieve his playing cards. When he returned he asked Fane “what can I get you to drink? I have beer, sweet tea and I think sprite”

“Sprite if you have it, if not I’ll have some tea” Halcyon grabbed them both a can and sat down “so you’ve had no experience at all playing card games?”

“No, I’m sorry”

“that’s nothing to be sorry over. I was just making sure. Since you havent played anything before I’ll teach you some really simple games first. War or go fish?”

“war or Go Fish?”

“Those are two different games”

“Oh, I guess Go Fish”

Halcyon explained the game as he dealt the cards and Fane realized it was more or less a guessing game. Halcyon won the first couple of games and chuckled at Fane’s determination to win the third. Even though it was just Go Fish, it was still nice to see him loosening up more and more. Fane beat him and looked so proud that Halcyon started laughing, causing him to blush. “How cute, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so happy to win at Go Fish.”

“Sh…shut up.” Fane replied.

“Don’t be mad, I like it.” He gently tussled Fane’s hair and just sat there smiling at him. “You know, I’m really happy you trust me enough to come here.”

“Well, you’ve been nothing but kind and patient. I was scared at first when you showed interest in even talking to me, but you make me feel so safe.” Fane’s heart was beating out of control at his own admission.

“Really now, well that’s good.”

“I…I wish I could pay you back.”

“There’s no need, just being close to you makes me happy.” He let his knuckles brush over Fane’s cheek. “I’m going to be honest because I don’t like the idea of hiding things from you, I like you, I mean really like you.”

“You do?”

“Yeah, that doesn’t mean I want anything from you, I just want you to know. Wherever we go from here is up to you, but know that no matter what I’ll still be here and when you’re ready to let me into your memories, I’ll help you, I won’t run away, I promise.”

Fane spoke nervously “I really like you too Halcyon and because of that you probably should know about what I went through” there was a short pause before Fane said “Teach me one more game. I’m having such a good time and once you’ve seen I wont be any longer…just thinking about you knowing makes pain and sadness swell up inside me…so..just let me play one more game with you and I’ll give you permission to see”

“are you sure? I don’t want you to allow that because you feel pressured.”

“I don’t feel pressured”

“Okay, then I’ll teach you war and we’ll play that until you’re ready. If you change your mind you change your mind though. Please tell me. I want to take that step with you only if you’re completely ready for me to see” Fane gave him a half smile “I will” They played a few hours before Fane let Halcyon know he was ready. “lets go into the living room so I can be closer to you. Is that alright?”

“yeah” they walked out of the kitchen and into his living room where they sat close to eachother on Halcyons couch. Halcyon took Fanes hand “you’re really, truly ready? We can just watch something or I can take you home if you aren’t sure”

“I’m sure”

“Okay”

Halcyon allowed himself to tap into Fane’s thoughts and was met with the echoes of fear and worry. His thoughts were a bit chaotic, his inner voice wondering if Halcyon would see him any differently, if he would think he was broken. He could see how Fane saw him, as a safe place, as the epitome of patience. That almost made him smile. If only he could see how he was when he was dealing with lazy police. He moved on and jerked in shock at what he saw. His heart rate spiked and he felt his stomach knot. Rage bubbled up to the surface, rage at what that monster was putting Fane through, at what he forced him to witness time and time again. He could hear Fane’s wish to die, his shame at being used as a tool to torture innocent people. Fane hated himself for not being able to fight back, for not being more aware. Halcyon’s eyes burned as he pulled away and he pulled Fane into him, hugging him tightly.

“Halcyon?”

“He is lucky he is dead.” Halcyon managed to say. “I am so sorry.” He pulled back to look at him, his hands framing Fane’s face. “It wasn’t your fault, none of it, that bastard.” He pressed their foreheads together. “Never again, I swear no one will hurt you.”

Fane’s eyes filled with tears and before he knew it he was crying, crying because Halcyon knew everything and was still there, that he had not withdrawn, that he was angry on his behalf, cried because he needed to and that he was actually glad he didn’t have to feel so alone anymore. Halcyon pulled him back into a hug and rubbed his back, comforting him as best as he could.

When it was getting late Halcyon said “after seeing everything you went through I just want you in my sight to make sure you don’t have to endure another second of torture but I’ll be the last one to force you into anything or even pressure you. So I’m just asking, please stay the night here. Stay here so I know you’re safe. While I’d like to hold you protectively all night I’ll sleep on the couch while you take my bed if it means you staying close so I can protect you”

“I trust you to sleep with me. I’ve never felt safer in my life” Halcyon was relieved at his answer. He didn’t know if his nerves could have handled letting Fane out of his sight right now. After what he had seen Halcyon was amazed Fane was as put together as he was and it meant even more Fane could trust him, especially to stay the night in his bed. “would you like me to take you home quickly for clothes or do you want to wear mine tomorrow? I’m taller but I don’t think the size difference is enough for my clothes to look bad on you”

“I’ll wear your clothes” Halcyon smiled and Fanes heart flipped again. That night and all the nights following in Halcyons arms Fane didn’t have a single nightmare which had him feeling better than ever. Fane didn’t know if they were living together permanently or if eventually he’d be sent home but he planned to enjoy this closeness and security for as long as Halcyon would have him in his home. Things were finally, truly starting to look up and he knew nothing besides Halcyon growing tired of him would ever bring him back down.

~ The End

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